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Hamas security forces to enforce truce

Hamas movement Thursday announced it will deploy its security forces on the border with Israel to enforce the truce on rocket firing

AFP, Thursday 13 Jan 2011
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A day after Hamas factions agreed to observe a truce on rocket fire at Israel, Gaza's rulers of the Islamist resistance group ordered the security forces Thursday to ensure other groups complied.

Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniya "issued instructions to the ministry of interior and to security chiefs to preserve the national consensus among Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip for its protection," said an official statement, referring to the truce agreement.

The statement was read out by government spokesman Taher Al-Nunu after a top-level meeting between Haniya and his ministers with the heads of the security and police forces in the Gaza Strip.

Late on Wednesday, Hamas officials had met with the main militant groups who had agreed to observe "national understanding" about a period of calm, and to avoid doing anything likely to provoke a strong Israeli reaction.

At the meeting, Hamas passed on a message from Egypt and other Arab leaders about the threat of a new Israeli operation in response to a rise in rocket fire from Gaza.

The deployment of security personnel began overnight and continued on Thursday, with witnesses and an AFP correspondent confirming Hamas had beefed up its forces along the border east of Gaza City, as well as to the north and were checking all cars on roads leading to the border.

In past weeks, Gaza militants have fired scores of rockets into Israel after the Israeli Army launched series of air strikes and raising fears of another massive operation along the lines of the 2008-9 war.

The 22-day war, which ended in a ceasefire on 18 January 2009, killed 1,400 Palestinians, more than half of them civilians, and 13 Israelis, 10 of them soldiers.

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